Amidst the World War II and the 1950s, the dressing was largely determined by the rationalization and restricted amount of threads, fabrics, and needles because of which the most well-known look comprised of a basic outfit which was made with very limited raw materials. After the end of world war II, many new kinds of fabrics started to become available in the market which further led to the emergence of new fashion trends in the 50s. This decade presented the commencement one amongst the most notable economic surges in the history of the US as well as encouraged the increase in consumerism. Clothing and style became a very important component of the entire culture of the 1950s.
What did men in the 1950s like to wear?
Throughout the entire decade of the 1950s, men’s fashion didn’t undergo such changes. They preferred wearing slacks, suits, coats, sweaters, and even casual outfits which were available in a varied range of styles and material. Sometimes, the casual outfits were designed to look bolder and statement. One thing that saw no changes throughout the decade was what the business class men preferred wearing. Men belonging to the working class usually dressed up in the military-style since most of them had earlier worked for the army and some were still a part of it.
Let us now take a glimpse through the different dressing styles that were preferred by men in the 1950s:
Irrespective of the fact that men no more liked wearing formal suits except their office time, they preferred wearing coats that looked quite similar to the design of their formal wear. Blazers and sport coats had an equal shoulder-length, fit, single-breasted front part with double buttons and pockets that were supposed to be flap opened with side spaces. Maximum of the sport coats of the decade included cuffs with four buttons which was a common feature seen in the formal suits too. The only difference between sport coats and formal suits was the varied range of materials and colours. The business suits were mostly dark coloured with small checks or plaids printed on them. Whereas, sport coats were available in a variety of colours such as silver grey, tan, mustard yellow, teal blue, and other bright summer shades.
As a contrasting combination of multi-colored sport coats with different textures, men liked wearing casual pants. The most effective rule to be followed was wearing a texturing sport coat with subtle pants or maybe the opposite as in wearing a plain sport coat paired up with textured pants. The contrast was even made in terms of colours. Patterns worn for the upper part were mostly of solid colours with light coloured bottoms or vice versa. However, dresses overloaded with prints and texture were not preferred by men. Colour coordinated top and bottom were known to be very formal to be considered as casual wear. Mostly, the colours were amalgamated.
Back in the 1950s, men used to wear slacks that were made out of lightweight wool, polyester, or linen. They were very tight fitting near the waist because of which no suspenders were required to be worn and didn’t have pleats too. They had a button on the top of the front part which was zippered. An individual line running towards the front end illustrated the height. They were a bit slimmer than the suit pants in the leg and more often, were shortened towards the end. They comprised of sideward welt pockets and mostly little cuffs near the hem. Towards the latter part of the decade, these slacks diminished a bit more and also lessened near the waist level to fit the belly button. The sharpened fold below the middle of the leg was still there but much faint. The pastel shades were more popular as summer shades.
Men’s casual shorts
Shorts were not something that was created new in the 1950s, but they acquired a good game as well as captured the market. The main reasons behind the popularity of shorts were sports and beach visits back in the earlier decades but in the 1950s, it made its way back in the trend and this time it was a popular component of the casual styling. There were different kinds of shorts out of which the most well-liked one was the one that went down till the knee length.
People wore those shorts mostly when they were out for a walk so it also became to be known as walking shorts. Nowadays they are famous as Bermuda shorts. The fit they offer is more like the slacks worn by men except for ridges near the waistband. They hung down to nearly one more two inches above the knee. They were usually available in single colours which featured plaids, seersucker made out of striped cotton, Madras, linen, and flannel fabric. A few of them included a belt at the back, whereas some men preferred wearing them with a color-contrasting belt made out of fabric.
Men’s swim shorts
Men in the 1950s preferred to go for sports and swimming was the most popular sport which was practiced. While going out for swimming, men wore shorts which were of a shorter length than the casual shorts. These shorts had a gathered or flat waistband made up of elasticated material, a zipper or sideward buttons, and at times also a small pocket to be opened with a flap. Commonly, people used to purchase swim shorts with a colour matched sport shirt with downward buttons.
The button-down shirt
This shirt was worn by the men throughout the year. It was available in both short and long sleeves. Some shirts had lesser plaid while some had more. Some shirts were also available in just solid colours. Men preferred to wear shirts made up of wool blends or fleece with heavy plaid in the winter season, whereas in the summer season they preferred to wear shirts made up of Madras cotton. Mostly, shirts of this kind had a high collar such as an open neck or button collar. They had two pockets on the chest with a flapped button downwards which looked similar to the western shirts. The pockets generally had no pockets and were just a patch. Apart from plaids, pastel shades such as teal green, yellow, and pink were very common. Some shirts also were printed abstractly with little checks or stripes.
Men’s knit shirts
The knit shirt worn by men in the 11950s looked similar to a polo t-shirt worn in the modern period. The only difference being in the collar which was much broader for the knit shirt and was made out of a colour contrasting to that of the body of the shirt. Few knit shirts had just one button near the neck, whereas some others had two. Some shirt styles featured a placket made up of lace which was a replacement of buttons. Some shirts were also designed in the pullover style which had an accumulated waistband to be worn and tucked beneath the pants.
Back in the 1950s t-shirts were more common amongst the youth than they were amongst the older men. They were made out of jersey knits featuring a high rounded collar that at times had a contrast colour. These t-shirts just had one chest pocket, which was made up of a single coloured fabric patch. Many t-shirts featured novelty prints, but a lot of them were in solid colours. They were mostly worn as sportswear.
As the name suggests shirt jackets were an amalgamation of the buttoned-down shirt along with the lightweight jacket with long sleeves. It was generally worn during the spring or fall season when the weather was neither too cold nor too hot. They had a broad pointed collar that had buttons or colour contrasting striped panels, checks, or different western-based prints. They had a single patch pocket or maybe a patch pocket near the chest along with a waistband made up of elastic which kept the wind away. The sleeves had buttons on the cuff.
Men in the 19350s wore sweaters which were of three types including V neck sweaters, Cardigan sweaters, and pullover sweaters. The V neck sweaters were worn by men who were conservative and wanted to look formal. The cardigan sweaters were worn as casual winter outfits and the pullover sweaters looked very unique and appealing as they featured stripes, checks, or solid colours. All the different kinds of sweaters featured different collars which made each of them look different from the other.
As you see the outfits worn by men in the 1950s are not just restricted to a few but are so many. This proves that the fashion in the 1950s was not very limited and it included numerous options. There are many other dresses which were worn by the men in the 1950s, but the basic ones have been discussed here in this post including casual wear, formal wear, and seasonal wear.